I’ve always considered myself as someone who doesn’t have too much of an impact on the planet. I’m vegan; I recycle everything that can be recycled; I carry the same tote around with me everywhere I go, and I have a smart meter.

But considering 18 million tonnes of waste are sent to landfill every year, only 12% of plastic is actually recycled worldwide, and it’s projected that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, I always wonder what more I can do. By no means do I want to contribute to such chilling statistics. 

I started by thinking about the areas I could fine-tune– and it was my period and my extensive beauty regime that posed as high-waste offenders. As Garnier revealed last year, only 50% of waste from the bathroom gets recycled in the UK, while the figure is around 90% for kitchen waste... So I’m not alone in this plight!

Coupling residue from long-lasting products in bottles, narrow openings, and fiddly bits like pumps, plastic valves, springs and tubes, it’s a tall order to clean out products properly and to separate what is recyclable. It’s no wonder that the beauty brands who are working to help solve the waste issue are gaining real traction. 

Kjaer Weis is one such brand who understands this problem. And making the switch to the brand’s simple refillable Cream Foundation solution was effortless. The packaging, which is designed to be renewed and refilled, remained gorgeous and the formula itself is far better than the one I was using before – adding a natural sheen to my skin. Meanwhile, I switched out my other daily essential – lipstick – to Hourglass’ super slick refillable iteration to find it clicks into place within seconds and holds tight throughout the day. And with thirty shades to pick and choose from, I’m looking forward to working my way through all of the hues while keeping the original lipstick case.

Here's a fun fact: When it comes to haircare, as much as 75% of shampoo and even 90% of conditioner are purely water. But organic, vegan and plastic-free brand, Beauty Kubes, break this rule – and I love 'em for it. Their shampoo and conditioning cubes not only come in 100% compostable card and paper, but they smell delicious, leave the hair soft and shiny, and they pride themselves on a low carbon footprint as their products boast a 50% reduction in volume compared to other products in the market.

Elsewhere, you’d think most of us would invest in a razor for life (that is, considering on average us women shave our legs every couple of days), but that’s not the case with disposable razors the norm. The EPA estimated that throughout the 1990s we threw away around two billion disposable razors. That number has since risen to over 2 billion razors ending up in landfill each year. Yikes! Making the switch to a chrome or steel razor means we only need to recycle the blades themselves, and unlike multi-blade razors standard double-edge safety razor blades are fully recyclable and eco-friendly. 

Then there's that time of the month, which sees the usual eco notions go out the window as the last thing I’m thinking about is if whether or not I’m on top of my recycling game. But it was a wake up call when I heard that according to the Women’s Environment Network a woman will go through an average of 11,000 to 17,000 disposable menstrual products throughout the course of her life. Luckily for those of us who don’t want to contribute to this statistic, there are other options. Period underwear is the newest invention on the block, which cunningly utilises technology to absorb and keep everything dry, hygienic and odour free. Plus, there’s also the easy-to-use OrganiCup menstrual cup, which is a reusable skin-friendly alternative to products containing bleach, plastics or glue.

All in all, after a month of using these zero waste alternatives, I’ve found I’ve actually saved money – considering on average, 15% of the cost of a product is due to the packaging it comes in – and there’s been nothing sacrificial about the process. I’ve found the alternatives have been just as good as what I’ve been using before, often surprisingly better due to their simplicity. And most importantly, I feel better that I’m doing more for the place we collectively call home.

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